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Formal Charges Filed Against Mubarak
May 24, 2011

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In a few short months, Egypt's Hosni Mubarak has gone from president of the country, wielding enormous power, to a detainee facing criminal trial. The country's prosecutor general has announced that Mubarak would be, possibly as early as June, tried on charges of corruption and of ordering attacks on unarmed protesters. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.

Nearly 850 people died in the protests leading up to Mubarak's ouster, according to a government committee, and thousands of people were injured. Mubarak is in a hospital, recovering from heart complications. His wife, Suzanne, has had similar heart problems and might be tried as well. Such a joint trial would follow the example of Tunisia, another northern African country in which an autocratic ruler was removed from power and then convicted of injustices against his people. Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and his wife have fled to Saudi Arabia rather than facing charges similar to those that Mubarak now faces. Mubarak, 83, and his wife, 70, have been under close supervision and likely would not have a similar opportunity to flee.

Egypt's ruling military council continued to make preparations for elections scheduled for September, as did the Muslim Brotherhood and other political parties, some hastily and recently formed since the country's emergency laws were lifted.

Other former government officials have been found guilty of similar charges.

If Mubarak faces such charges, historians said, it would be a modern first. No other modern head of state has been sent to trial by the people he formerly ruled.



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